The only thing constant in life is change. We’ve heard the adage written by Heraclitus 2500 years ago and there yet seems to be a better way to state the obvious. Evolve or die. Change or be changed. Sounds cryptic but basic survival depends on our ability to adapt – a.k.a. change.
Coaching is about change. It’s about working with individuals who want to move forward. Rarely, do I have clients that set goals along the less than eloquent line of, “I want things the way they used to be.” A statement of that nature begs the request, “Be specific” and then taking a deeper and deeper dive into a new vision.
If you are sitting on the fence with your back to the sunset, there’s a likelihood you are sitting in the “Neutral Zone”, that uninspiring place of uncertainty and at the same time, perceived security. I was leading a group on change management recently and as we worked our way through the Change Curve, down the initial awareness slope, getting stuck in the Neutral Zone of frozen inertia and on towards Exploration, it dawned on me that when we, as coaches, help clients be creative and open to possibilities. As they discover and select their own options, we are moving them quite nicely up and forward into the vertical lift of a new change pattern.
The importance of exploration is huge. We see this in change models based on the Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s grief curve model. We also see this energy manifest itself in the various behavioral change models such as Prochaska and DiClemente’s Transtheoretical Stages of Change Model that include contemplation and preparation. Contemplation is internally analyzing, reflecting deeply and truly responding to the question of life, “What do I want?” Preparation picks up with exploring possibilities and considering options, determining the “what ifs” and the “how abouts” of life. Our clients select options, define goals, action steps, and prepare for obstacles to prepare for goal achievement.
As coaches, we are change catalysts using our skills with clients to move them forward, to get unstuck and out of the neutral zone. We may be helping with slow evolutionary or developmental change, such as weight loss or improving communication skills, or coaching them through transformational change, such as a total career change or lifestyle change. Sometimes the client is in the Discomfort Zone of the unknown, but as explorers who have gone before us, the unknown brings new treasures. How fortunate to be in the position to help someone change, evolve and discover the treasure of Life.
Just for today:
What do you want?
How are you positioned on the fence?
What do you want to walk towards?